Seven Make-Up Mistakes Men Make And How To Fix Them
So, you’ve taken the plunge and started wearing make up. How modern! You’ve joined the ranks of many a male celebrity and politician on TV, as well as a reported one in 20 British men who sometimes wear it.
Throwing your misplaced masculine insecurities aside to dabble in some tinted moisturiser, a little concealer for that spot on your chin or even some eyebrow gel is the easy part. Perfecting your technique involves a little more hard work and will take some trial and error.
To help you look your best (and like you’re not wearing any make up), here are seven mistakes you may be making and a few pointers on how you can fix them.
You’re not blending enough
The key to seamless and natural-looking make up is blending. Start off with a minimal amount of foundation, then keep gently patting and blending until it is almost invisible on the skin and it blends in with the rest of your face. Otherwise, your make up can look cakey or streaky and can crease more easily. Make-up artist Ms Kim Kiefer says: “Blending is a skill that sets professional make up apart from the rest, so don’t expect to nail this straight away. For concealer on imperfections apply a small amount (half of what you think) to the spot or area to be concealed and use a (damp) make up sponge or your finger to press the product in.”
If you have facial hair, you’ll need to take this into consideration, too: “Beards of all lengths are a bit of a tricky area, with product getting trapped between hairs and looking cakey. Some men also have redness around the beard area that they want to correct. Take your tinted moisturiser to just under an inch away from the beard line and then use a brush and work it down into the beard area using circular motions to buff the product in.”
You’re not setting your make up
Armed with the expertise above, you’ve now blended your concealer and foundation perfectly. A few hours later, however, the foundation has creased, moved around and settled into fine lines. “Set it or it will move,” says Kiefer. A mattifying powder, such as War Paint for Men’s Anti-Shine, will work wonders. As well as reducing shine, it will set your make up so it lasts throughout the day. You don’t need a lot. Just a few strokes with a brush or powder puff under your eyes, along your laugh lines and on your T-zone will do. Another tip: “My preference is to go with a good primer underneath,” says Kiefer. “This will not only help to keep everything in place but also stay matte – think mattifying and pore-refining primers.”
You’re using the wrong shade
Nobody wants to be the man whose face and neck don’t match. Or the guy who has a foundation tide mark on his jawline. Or the one whose under-eye area is almost white because he used a concealer that’s lighter than his skin tone. Whether it’s foundation or concealer, always choose the right shade. The best way to do this is to test it out on your face rather than your hand and have a look at it in different lights. “Going to a make-up counter to have a colour match done is a great starting point if you’re a newbie,” says Kiefer.
“Tinted moisturisers often come in a much smaller colour selection, so they are much easier to select, and due to their sheer coverage they offer some wiggle room in terms of colour matching. If you’re a beginner, stick to tinted moisturiser – these are so advanced nowadays that if chosen in the correct colour they can be (almost) fool-proof. For natural day make up, there is no need to use anything heavier than this anyway.” And, always, blend it down the neck as well.
You’re neglecting your skincare routine
“In men’s grooming less is more,” says Kiefer. “So, naturally, the better the health of your skin, the less product it will need to look its best.” Before applying make up, ensure your skin is clean and well-moisturised. This will create a good, smooth base and you may need to apply only on certain areas, such as your T-zone. Use a gentle exfoliator once a week to slough off dulling dead skin cells and give your complexion a smoother appearance. Try a product that contains glycolic acid, such as Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta wipes, rather than an abrasive scrub.
“And you absolutely must cleanse your skin at the end of the day,” says Kiefer. “I love cleansing oils for dry skin and micellar waters for oily or acne prone skin types. Regular clay masks also help to deep cleanse pores.” The key is to double cleanse, use one oil- or cream-based cleanser such as the Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil, or a micellar water such as La Mer’s The Cleansing Micellar Water, to melt away your make up, and then cleanse a second time with a foaming cleanser such as MALIN+GOETZ’s Grapefruit Cleanser.
You’re neglecting your eyebrows
Your eyebrows frame your face and one of the quickest (and subtlest) ways to improve your appearance is keep them in check. Like the hair on your head, or your beard, eyebrows also need some TLC. Fill in any empty spots with an eyebrow pencil or pen and brush up and out with an eyebrow gel to lift your face and tame any stray hairs. “A general rule of thumb is to brush the brows up and outwards to get all the hairs going in the same direction,” says Kiefer. “This is not about perfection, just enhancing what you’ve got. Remember that no two eyebrows are the same, even on the same face.”
You’re putting make up on straight after your SPF
There is nothing wrong with wearing make up on top of your SPF, but for your sun protection to do its job, it needs to dry down and stabilise first. Wait 15 minutes after applying your SPF before you put on your make up. That way, you can be sure that both products have been applied evenly and your face will be protected from the sun’s ageing UV rays.
You’re putting on too much
The more foundation you put on your face, the more work you have to do to blend it in. Start with a pea-sized amount of liquid foundation and gently build up coverage where you want it. “The key here is to build slowly until you get the coverage you need, start with a tiny amount and then build and blend,” says Kiefer. “Start with a pea-sized amount, work from the centre of the face outwards and add more as required – you’ll be surprised how little is needed.” You want to look like a slightly more polished version of you, after all, and not like you’re wearing a mask.
Illustration by Mr Iker Ayestaran